Friday, August 31, 2007


I have copied out some textbook exercises for actors' hand gestures, paired with period illustrations.
Hand Index - pointing index, usually with a relaxed hand, not a fist
Hand Supine - palm down
Hand Prone - palm up
Hand Reflex - palm to chest; sometimes with clenched hand to show agitation
Hands Clasped - gripping each other palm to palm
Hand Averse - palm away from body
Hand(s)Clenched - rolled tightly into a fist

Hand Index
Look here upon this picture, and on this. –Shakespeare
You, sir, what trade are you! –Shakespeare
Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel? –Shakespeare

Hand Supine
What is your tidings? –Shakespeare
Welcome, Icilius! –Welcome, friends! –Knowles
O ye gods, Render me worthy of this noble wife. –Shakespeare

Hand Prone
No! thou shalt remain with me. –Halm
He draws his lines round the doomed garrison. He cuts off all supplies. –Prentiss
Hold, hold! that is to danger—see you not? –Halm

Hand Reflex
Hold, hold, my heart; And you, my sinews, grow not instant old, But bear me stiffly up. —Shakespeare
And for that name, which is no part of thee, Take all myself. –Shakespeare
O, I have loved thee long; So much the more ecstatic my delight, to find thee mine at length! —Knowles

Hands Clasped
O, spare my child, my joy, my pride! –MacKay
Give your children food, O Father! Give us food, or we must perish!—Longfellow
O, bless you, bless you! My father! my dear father! Art thou not my father? –Knowles

Hand Averse
Avaunt! and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee! –Shakespeare
Go, go, thou selfish and ungrateful child! –Halm
He hates his fellow-men, and glares upon them with the longing of a cannibal.

Hand Clenched
I will not yield, To kiss the ground beneath young Malcolm’s feet. –Shakespeare
Woe to the hands that shed this costly blood. –Shakespeare
The war, then, must go on. We must fight it through. –Webster

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